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            DIY Message Boards  Hop To Forum Categories  Home Improvement  Hop To Forums  Plumbing    Toilet flange problem
        Toilet flange problem Sign In/Join 
        Hoping I can get some advice about fixing a toilet flange that I believe was incorrectly installed years ago. I am including two pics.

        I have a downstairs bathroom with vinyl sheet flooring installed directly over the concrete floor. I want to install porcelain tile over the vinyl. (Mapei assures me that several of their products, including Keraset + Keraply, Ultracontact, Ultraflex or Porcelain mortar will work on a properly prepared vinyl floor.) When I removed the toilet, I found that the flange is Abs rather than metal. Rather than being flush with the floor and screwed into the concrete floor, the top of the flange rises about 3/4” above the concrete floor, and it is not secured to the concrete floor with screws or anything else. (Even so, the flange does not move.) The Abs flange appears to be simply cemented into the pipe (or, the pipe into the flange—not sure which).

        I cut away a square of vinyl, but you can still see (pic 1) a dark ring where the installer put some type of putty to seal between the base of the commode and the floor tile. You also can see (pic 2) that there's a space between the flange and the floor. In fact, there was sometimes a faint odor of sewer gas in that bathroom I thought the wax ring needed to be replaced; however, it appears that the problem might have been that the commode was never correctly installed. It sat too high. Moreover, the T-bolts were inserted not into the flange's key slots but into the two outside notches. You can see in the photo (pic 1) how that part of the flange curls up slightly on either side.

        I don't know whether the flange receives the pipe or whether the flange inserts into the pipe.

        One solution might be to cut the pipe flush to the floor, then install an Abs flange designed to be set into a pipe. (See 2 minutes into this YouTube video: ). Does anyone know what that particular type of flange is called? Of course, if the flange is set into the pipe, that part of the flange would need to be cleaned out from the pipe before a new flange could be set into the pipe. The object is to get the flange flush to the floor so the toilet seats properly onto the floor.

        The other solution might be to screw the flange to the floor, using washers under the flange for support (since there's a space), then build a new subfloor to come up flush to the top of the flange. This would allow the commode to seat properly on the floor. One problem is that the subfloor plus new porcelain tile increases the height of the floor slightly over an inch, enough to be a “trip trap” for someone entering the bathroom from that hallway.

        If anyone can suggest a way to put down a new floor while having the commode seat properly, I would appreciate it. Thanks.

        Flange top and side views
        Posts: 95 | Registered: Nov 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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        Your flange was definitely set 90 degrees from what it should have been set -- and it was set too high. But too high is only a problem if it causes the toilet to rock around. If you look at the bottom of the toilet, the drop tube sits a little higher than the bottom of the toilet base. And since you want to put tile down, then that flange height is about right (maybe the original plan was to put tile, then plans changed).

        Different areas have different building techniques. Some areas will put tile direct to the concrete floor you have -- so when you say you have a one inch build up, that seems excessive. But check with your local specialty tile shop for installation questions -- not the big box home improvement stores (I appreciate those stores, but not when it comes to tile work).

        But I'd remove the vinyl flooring. And careful setting of the tile at the toilet spot is important or the toilet will rock around on you. I use a two foot straight edge to verify those tiles are set correctly.

        There are metal repair flanges that you could use and then use fasteners into the concrete (providing the concrete isn't set too far back from the pipe) -- or you could call a pro plumber that has the right tools and he will fix and set a new one without a huge expense. Or maybe there is enough room for a sawzall to cut away the existing flange and add the type of new flange you're thinking about.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: Re-mdlr,

        They make it look so easy on tv, don't they
        Posts: 993 | Location: No. California | Registered: Mar 24, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        It sure looks like you have a self-solving problem. Once you add your tile you will raise your floor by about 3/8" - probably the perfect height for that flange. While installing your tile, you can fill under the flange with thinset to reinforce it further from underneath. Usually adding tile makes the flange set too low and an extension piece needs to be added. In your case, adding tile will put the flange at the right height. There is no reason to change any of the flange installation. It will even work fine in the direction that it is installed. Those two side tabs are set to hold the toilet mounting bolts - it's just that if you use them care must be taken that the flange is rotated perfectly. The slotted mounts give you a little leeway to rotate a toilet a little to get it to line up perfectly. But, either set of flange slots will work fine.

        I would seriously rethink installing the tile on top of the vinyl. Not sure who you talked to at Mapei but unless they were a factory installer with actual install experience I would discount what you were told. You are just not going to get as good an install by using any kind of thinset on top of a slick, vinyl floor. Plus, you are at the mercy of how well that vinyl is adhering to the concrete. If there are places where the vinyl can pull up, your tile will eventually come up too. Not worth losing your tile job since you have access now and can remove the vinyl floor.

        Posts: 10483 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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        Thanks very much for the help. Every time I've ever seen a flange installed (i.e., a few times), it's always been flush to the floor; so I thought that's how it had to be. But I see your point.

        Also, you might get a chuckle out of this. I was confident that if Mapei tested Ultraflex for use over vinyl (provided the vinyl was uncushioned, cleaned, and sanded), it would be fine. I proceeded to start sanding the vinyl sheet, starting near the shower. It wasn't so rock-solid as I thought. Then I started to tear away one piece and another. I found that in some areas the vinyl came up easier than in others. It LOOKED like it was glued to that concrete like white on rice, but, in fact, some areas were not that firmly cemented. No way to tell by just looking at it or feeling over it. It was apparent only when I started to remove it. Soooo...lose the vinyl.

        Any recommendations for a solvent to remove the adhesive.

        Again, many thanks.
        Posts: 95 | Registered: Nov 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        You're not going to find many cured vinyl adhesives that can be removed by solvent. You are looking at scraping off the residue. Good news is that you do not have to remove 100% of the glue, just any that has some thickness to it. Scraping will make many places where the glue is removed and you have bare concrete - that will provide a good enough base for the thinset.

        Posts: 10483 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Thanks very much for the information. It's been very helpful. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
        Posts: 95 | Registered: Nov 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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